Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Freakin' Weekend (1971)

I love Disney World.

2017 me watched a Dan Marino profile on the NFL Network last night, and he was thrilled to learn that Dan Marino's dad was a truck driver for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1971 me has been looking at a lot of the Post-Gazette and it's fun to pretend that Dan Marino's dad was the one bringing my pretend paper to the pretend gas station where I purchased it.

Meanwhile, in the NBA, ...

The absolute best part of this very, very good Milton Berle episode of Dick Cavett is the boss college-football commercial narrated by Keith Jackson.

You've probably been wondering what's been going on with CFB71, and the Roger and Pam Stanton and I are here to tell you.

The Stantons run a publication called The Football News, which I had never discovered until this 2017 summer. I bought a bound volume of 1971-72 issues, and it's a treasure trove.

My favorite feature is Mrs. Stanton's regular "A Women's View" column. In one issue, she had an item about connecting with the wives of Joe Robbie and Don Shula at the league meetings, and I LOVED THAT!

It's a thick tabloid, dense with news reports and lots and lots of agate--the college results and rankings, pro transactions--that is sometimes pretty hard to find in the newspapers of the day. 

Also, Mr. Stanton throws in his own hot-take-ish commentary paragraph on pretty much each news item, in which he almost always sides with the largest institution in play (league > team > coach > star player > non-star player). I really should've taken a picture of one of these, but I forgot to, and I want to get this thing posted. I'll put one in the comments soon. Suffice it to say for now that Mr. Stanton could be a bit of a lightning-rod figure.

Along with Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell and other friends, Mr. Stanton bought The Football News in 1962. "He filled it with interviews and gossip, with opinion, news and statistics, including a compendium of team results and upcoming schedules, point spreads and predictions. The latter coupling into one handy package all the information casual gamblers needed triggered the growth of the Football News and made it the most successful publication of its kind." That's from a bizarre remembrance to Mr. Stanton in the Detroit Free Press after his death in 1990, which goes on to tell about some curious runs-in he had with Tom Brokaw and William Clay Ford--and one Mrs. Stanton had with Howard Cosell.

Anyway, I'm enjoying following football through the words of the Stantons this fall, and it's time for me start paying a little more attention to CFB71 in particular.

Guess who the Virginia Tech quarterback who is coming to Lexington on Saturday, Oct. 30, 1971.

Here's hoping John Ray's Wildcats can close the regular season with a big four-game win streak and become bowl eligible (and congratulations to the 2017 'Cats, while we're at it).


  1. I think I've read that the Grieses and the Howard Twilleys were good friends. I know that Griese and Warfield were road roommates. Well, whatever, it's a happy time for all of them: Miami 20, Los Angeles 14. That's a big win.

  2. St. Louis 28, Buffalo 23. The Bills are 0-7.

  3. In every way, the Redskins look fantastic this year: Washington 24, New Orleans 14.

    I had never heard Larry Brown be called "The Mighty Mongoose." I recently stayed at an Alexandria, Virginia, Holiday Inn Express, where I met a man wearing a Larry Brown 43 "throw-back" jersey.

  4. According to one of the commenters at this YouTube clip, this 1971 footage for PBS's Sessions program were shot at WSIU in Carbondale, Illinois. My younger brother, who is older than me, used to talk about seeing REO Speedwagon around southern Illinois when he was haunting around there in the middle 1970s.

  5. Week 7 brings the fourth win in a row for the 49ers: San Francisco 27, New England 10.

    Cleveland is "a team on the wane:" Falcons 31, Browns 14. I'm glad to see Dick Shiner has apparently found a home in Atlanta. I once did a drawing of one of that guy's football cards; I need to post that some time. This offseason, he was a backup with the Giants. There was a report that he went AWOL from the team, and the team's reaction was that they didn't care whether he came back.

  6. Replies
    1. Minnesota's Gary Cuozzo was knocked out of this game, by the way, and successfully relieved by Snead. Will be interesting to see who quarterbacks the Vikings the rest of NFL71.

  7. "Is there still hope for Dallas in the NFC East, Pat?" Tom Brookshier asks, and Summerall seems doubtful. The Bears beat the Cowboys, 23-19, as Tom Landry debuts his revolving-quarterback strategy in which the coach sent in a different quarterback with a play he called each offensive down. This whole notion just clearly offends Tom and Pat.

    1. To be fair, Coach Landry couldn't come on the field and catch the punt at midfield that Cliff Harris fumbled. This would've left "Morbach"/"Stauton" about four minutes and only 60 yards to close a four-point gap.

    2. Having read about these Bears all summer long in the Chicago Tribune (which was so, so much fun until the paper put up a paywall), I am stunned the Bears are an actual contender in the NFC Central. Jim Dooley is my midNFL71 coach of the year.

  8. Chargers 49, Jets 21. It's such a delight when I actually discover an NFL player I don't remember hearing about from my youth. One such player for me in this NFL71 exercise has been Bob Davis, who actually is starting at quarterback for New York. I had never heard of him until this summer.

  9. Meanwhile, my midNFL71 player of the year might well be Kansas City's Otis Taylor. Every time I watch something involving the Chiefs, Taylor is doing something extraordinary.

    The Chiefs and Raiders tied in Week 7, 20-20. It was nice to see Kansas City's Johnny Robinson and Oakland's George Blanda being nice to each other after the game.

  10. Replies
    1. First shutout in Miami history, and Bill Arnsparger of Paris, Kentucky, is awarded the game ball!

  11. Replies
    1. By the way, if I was a Cowboy fan, I would've decided from watching NFL Films interviews and reading articles from over the years that Bob Lilly should've been elected president of the United States. I freaking love Bob Lilly, in spite of the forthcoming Griese sack.

    2. Joe Carnicelli, the writer of the United Press International roundup of Sunday’s games, said Weeb Ewbank, Buddy Ryan and the Jets confused Hank Stram and the Chiefs by moving a defensive back, Gus Holloman, to play as a fourth linebacker and then floating defensive backs W.K. Hicks, John Dockery and Steve Tannen in a deep zone. This messed up the Kansas City blocking and discouraged Otis Taylor and Elmo Wright from trying deep routes.

  12. So here are the standings headed into the Monday, Nov. 8, 1971, game, Los Angeles at Baltimore:

    Miami 6-1-1
    Baltimore 5-2
    New York 3-5
    New England 3-5
    Buffalo 0-8

    Pittsburgh 4-4
    Cleveland 4-4
    Houston 1-6-1
    Cincinnati 1-7

    Oakland 5-1-2
    Kansas City 5-2-1
    San Diego 3-5
    Denver 2-5-1

    Washington 6-1-1
    Dallas 5-3
    St. Louis 3-5
    New York 3-5
    Philadelphia 2-5-1

    Minnesota 4-2
    Detroit 5-2-1
    Chicago 5-3
    Green Bay 3-4-1

    San Francisco 6-2
    Los Angeles 4-2-1
    Atlanta 4-3-1
    New Orleans 2-4-2

  13. The fellows at NFL Monday Night Football are determined to bring us up to speed on the rise of zone defenses in professional football.

  14. Aurora begins amping up the Christmas71 press with a couple of compelling commercials.

    The "AFX" slot cars--for "Aurora Factory Experimentals"--are draped in a serious splendor of tone and language. These aren't your typical baby-stuff slot cars; the AFX product set is presented as a next-generation innovation in the form from Aurora's "Model Motoring Division." The controller is called a "pistol," and the set is powered by AC for all-day operation. If I'm an 11-year-old boy heading in Christmas71, I'm looking at these AFX as not only an amusing pastime but also a mark of my hard-earned discernment and allowed-to-use-the-outlet-without-supervision maturity. The AFX tells me and everyone else that I've arrived.

    And then there's an ad for Aurora's sendup of skittle tennis. The skittle games are pretty dependable for a 10- to 20-minute burst of fun, and tennis is starting to gather some juice--there was a report the other day that NBC just announced the largest broadcast package ever for professional-tennis tournaments, starting next spring. So, anyway, Aurora is throwing out a line and see if anything bites. And they trot out Don Adams as bait. Aurora Skittle Tennis looks OK. My guess is that it showed up in Santa's Tier II Christmas71 bag.

  15. Speaking of The Beauty of the Game, check out this Earl Morrall fake-pitch-wide/handoff-to-Norm Bulaich trap for a score in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Ol' Earl has thrown a couple of interceptions and been generally off target thus far, and, yet, the Colts lead the Rams, 6-3.

  16. As the second half opens, Earl Morrall misfires on a screen to Roy Perkins, and then Coy Bacon of Cadiz, Kentucky (!), throws Tom Matte for a loss. The Memorial Stadium crowd sounds anxious to see what Ol' Johnny U might do. But then Morrall zips a slant to Tom Mitchell for a first down, and everybody settles down.

  17. But then the groans return as, on the next three plays, Morrall throws his 14th, 15th and 16th incompletions of 22 attempts so far. "Not one of Earl Morrall's better nights," notes Giff.

  18. Howard Cosell has not been heard on this broadcast for some time, and I'm starting to wonder if this is the infamous game where he threw up in the booth not long as the outset of the show.

  19. No, here’s Howard—to tell us what’s on the agenda for this Saturday's 4 p.m. Central episode of ABC’s Wide World of Sports:

    — Tournament of Thrills Auto Daredevil Championship,
    — World Wristwrestling Championships and
    — World Professional Target Diving Championship.

  20. Back and forth goes possession with neither offense doing much, and the Rams run Larry Smith off the left side of his line, a Colt punches the ball through out of his grasp, and Ted Hendricks appears to catch it in mid air. "The Mad Stork," who does not appear to be being called "The Mad Stork" yet, races with the find the 20 or so yards for a go-ahead Baltimore touchdown. With 9:03 to play, O'Brien's extra point puts the home team ahead ... 17-10? Somewhere I missed a Baltimore tying field goal. Odd. Either this YouTube series left it out, or 1971 me dozed off on the couch for a segment of the game late Monday night.

  21. The beginning and end of the story is about Ray May's not wanting to leave his house because of his lack of mobility and his fighting with the NFL to help pay for hip-replacement surgeries.

  22. The following regional CFB71 games are also scheduled to be on ABC this Saturday:

    — Cornell vs. Dartmouth,
    — Arkansas vs. Southern Methodist,
    — Kansas vs. Oaklahoma and
    — Washington State vs. Oregon State.

    I cannot believe Tommy Prothro was only 51.

  23. Los Angeles faces a fourth-and-10 at its own 42 with 2:10 to play and still has all three of its times out. Young Coach Prothro waves his arms for the offense to stay on the field.

    Meredith: “The coach says it’s time to go for it.”

    Cosell: “He has no other choice.”

    Gifford: “I don’t know about that decision."

    Fred Miller sacks Roman Gabriel, and Baltimore takes over the ball, already in field-goal position. "I like to play the game that way myself,” Giff says, coming back from commercial, “but …” And then he goes into the math of time left on the clock, Rams times out, two-minute warning, etc. But Prothro is a “a master bridge player and a good chess player, and I’m just sitting up there talking.”

    Cosell sticks to his guns that it was a good decision, arguing that Los Angeles lost to Miami (rah!) last week, faces a tough end-of-the-season schedule and needed to shoot the moon to not fall further behind the 49ers the NFC West. Meredith drifts in to his glass-half-full/glass-half-empty, “Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?” lyrics: “It’s none of our business. We don’t know if it was a good decision or a bad decision—it turned out to be a bad one.”

    Then Tom Matte breaks free for a couple of good runs, the second for a touchdown, and now all three of our guys can unite in the ecstasy of witnessing to the glory of Tom Matte.

  24. The Rams get a late long-bomb touchdown pass. The Colt cornerback trailing on the play argues that the receiver was out of bounds, but Cosell says the Colt "is out of bounds for not covering him on the play." The replay shows the Ram failed to get the second foot in bounds, but who cares? I'm with Cosell on this one. We go right to the extra-point try, which is good, and now it's 24-17 late on this Monday night 1971, and I get the payoff of getting to see a meaningful onside-kick try.

    Baltimore recovers. That's it. Final: 24-17, Baltimore.

  25. Oh, sublime!

    The powers of YouTube user Newton Minnow are mysterious and wonderful. At the end of this video, following the ABC promo for the Helen Hayes/Myrna Loy made-for-TV movie, we have unnarrated footage of Roman Gabriel talking on a telephone on the field while members of the Colts marching band and various police officers, Memorial Stadium workers and probably sports writers are walking around behind him. This is a treasure.

    OK, there goes Roman. He’s done with his phone call, and, in his big, beautiful “RAMS” poncho, he trots off the field with some handlers. Someone says, “I guess that’s it.” And now we have a black screen.

  26. OK, now we have a screen that reads …


    And somebody comes on and says, “In 60 seconds from now, we will have the Federal Pay Board’s decision …” And now there’s some typewritten instructions on the screen. So I gather this is some inside communique from the network to the local stations. This is fascinating to someone who really does believe with all of his heart, “Hooray for TV!"

  27. OK, that really is it. No word on the Federal Pay Board. But that was great. Thanks again, Newton Minnow and ABC.

  28. Ninth place all time in SEC football wins: Vanderbilt. Tenth place: Kentucky. UK beat Vanderbilt last Saturday, Nov. 6, 1971, 14-7. It was the Wildcats’ first SEC win of the year.

    In other Nov. 6 action, Michigan beat Iowa, 63-7. That leaves Alabama, Auburn, Cornell, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Penn State and Toledo as the nation's unbeaten big-school teams.

  29. Michigan hosts 6-2 Ohio State on Nov. 20. Alabama and Auburn play Nov. 27 in Birmingham, but, first, the Tigers face a tough trip to 5-5 Georgia this Saturday, Nov. 13. Most everybody seems to be pretty fixated on Nebraska at Oklahoma on Thanksgiving, Nov. 25. Those are the biggest games remaining CFB71 regular-season games.

  30. — The Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, the Dolphins to go against the Pittsburgh Steelers … Down there, they didn’t want to believe it … ANOTHER Pittsburgh touchdown, 21-3, the Miami cause appearing hopeless, a big upset apparently underway … Bob Griese, out of a night in the hospital, throwing 41 yards to Howard Twilley, and now the Dolhins have begun their comeback … This is four plays later ... Watch Bob Griese, supposedly subpar … WHAT A YOUNG QUARTERBACK GRIESE IS! … This is fourth-quarter action, the first play of the quarter … Griese again … WHO ELSE? … PAUL WARFIELD! … 60-yard touchdown play … Miami bails it out over Pittsburgh, 24-21!

    — Shea Stadium, record crowd, sixty-three thousand, nine forty-seven, Jets against the Colts, the Jets trying to surprise … Dreams of an upset, such a week ago against Kansas City, BUT NOT! MEANT! TO BE! … Still in the third quarter, the handoff from John Unitas to Tom Matte, the gifted ballplayer who never looks good enough but only does what he has to do. Baltimore leads it, 14 to 7 … It remains at 14 to 13 … We’re still in the fourth quarter … Bob Davis … trying to rescue this contest … looking for his favorite target again, Richard Caster … BRILLIANT CATCH! … JUST INBOUNDS! … The Jets again in field-goal position … The field-goal attempt at the 22 … AGAIN, the kick is BLOCKED—this time by Jerry Logan … Baltimore saves the game, 14 to 13!

  31. Also, not per Howard:

    — Minnesota 3, Green Bay 0
    — New England 38, Buffalo 33
    — Los Angeles 21, Detroit 13
    — Dallas 20, Philadelphia 7
    — Kansas City 13, Cleveland 7
    — Cincinnati 24, Denver 10
    — Oakland 41, Houston 21

    And now we have the second half of the Monday-night game, 3-5 Cardinals at 3-5 Chargers. St. Louis leads, 10-3 …

  32. So, at the end of this St. Louis-San Diego Monday-night game, the Cardinals tied the game at 20 with about 15 seconds remaining and then went for an onside kick. The Chargers took over at their 46, and then John Hadl hit Gary Garrison to get San Diego into St. Louis territory. Dennis Partee kicked a 45-yard field goal as time expired, 23-20. What a curious decision to go for the onside kick there by the Cardinals' coach (for one more year), Bob Hollway.